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Syrian commission calls for political solution

Sept. 11, 2013 at 9:50 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Failure to find a political solution to the Syria war has led to intolerable human suffering but military intervention could make it worse, an inquiry said.

The U.N.-backed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic said Wednesday the conflict in the country "has taken a dangerous turn."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last month more than 1,000 civilians were killed during a chemical weapons attack on a suburb of Damascus. Washington said it had evidence the Syrian government used sarin gas during the attack.

The commission said Wednesday more than 6 million Syrians have fled their homes and civilians were paying the price for the failure to find a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

"Failure to bring about a political settlement has allowed the conflict not only to deepen in its intransigence but also to widen, expanding to new actors and to new, previously unimaginable crimes," it said in a statement.

The commission said there is a need for accountability following the alleged use of chemical weapons in August. U.N. weapons inspectors are examining evidence taken from the scene, though U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday the blame was obvious.

Obama said in a Tuesday evening address to the nation the military option was still on the table. He said some level of military action was needed to respond to the use of banned weapons.

"There is an urgent need for a cessation of hostilities and a return to negotiations, leading to a political settlement," the commission said. "To elect military action in Syria will not only intensify the suffering inside the country but will also serve to keep such a settlement beyond our collective reach.

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